Date of Award

8-2000

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Medieval Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Paul E. Szarmach

Second Advisor

Dr. Otto Grundler

Third Advisor

Dr. Rand Johnson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. E. Rozanne Elder

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

In the text that I wish to investigate, Samuel of Morocco, an ex-rabbi, supposedly wrote a letter to Rabbi Isaac in an attempt to convince him of the errors of Judaism. F. Alphonsus Bonihominis of the Dominican order supposedly translated the Epistola Samuelis Maroccani from Arabic into Latin in 1339. Nevertheless, some scholars, such as Ora Limor, believe that Alphonsus Bonihominis composed the letter as a polemical work.

The objective of this opus is to prove that a Jewish rabbi was not the author of this text. The first two parts of the proposed thesis will begin with a review of the primary sources including existing Latin manuscripts, dissemination and circulation, as well as the printing history of the text, followed by a survey of secondary sources and previous studies. The authorship of the letter will also be brought into question in order to discern whether the presumed writer was really an ex-rabbi or a Christian writing under a pseudonym. The third chapter will focus upon the subject matter of the letter and place it within the context of the time period. The fourth chapter will focus on rabbinical literature in order to discern whether a listener of Jewish background would have been convinced by the presentation and basis of the arguments posed.

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